As finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents her fourth Union Budget on February 1, all eyes would be on how the government balances out populist measures while walking the tightrope of fiscal consolidation.
While Indian corporates are expecting some key announcements which will enable them to reset their growth agenda, individual taxpayers are expecting some more disposable income in their hands to invest and consume more.
As India works towards a $5 trillion economy by 2025, and with just two days to go for 2022-23 budget, here are the top five market expectations on direct and indirect taxes.
1. 80C deduction available up to Rs 1.5 lakh a year be revised upwards significantly.
2. To make the optional concessionary tax regime, which came into effect from April 2021, more acceptable, raise the threshold Rs 15 lakh income for laying peak 30 per cent tax rate.
3. As Web 3.0 unfolds, crypto assets encompassing a wide array of digital assets like non fungible tokens, wrapped asset token etc, will gain tremendous traction. it is being expected that a specialised regime for taxation of cryptocurrency will be introduced in the budget.
4. The burden of the long-term capital gains tax (LTCG), introduced vide Finance Act 2018, has somewhat dented investor confidence. Major economies do not have LTCG tax. In India too, it is expected that LTCG on the sale of Indian-listed equity shares will be exempted as it would boost investment through the stock exchange.
5. Corporates are expecting that the entire amount, or an appropriate proportion of expenditure incurred for helping the society and employee welfare during Covid-19 will be allowed as deductible expenditure. Also, the government is expected to reduce the tax rates for companies engaged in R&D activities to 15 per cent or less and allow weighted deduction on in-house R&D expenditure.
1. Rationalisation of Customs duty structure for EV and ancillary components, renewable energy generation devices and related components is likely.
2. Sector specific concessions for semi-conductor manufacturers with focus on exports are expected.
3. Budget allocations for the expansion of the PLI scheme for sectors such as leather and laminates; additional incentive schemes will also lure companies into setting up additional manufacturing in sectors that were not the focus in previous budgets and help reverse the impact of the pandemic.
4. The government is already reviewing 400 customs duty exemptions (as announced in the previous budget). The final list is expected to be proposed as part of the 2022 budget and industry is awaiting it so that there is no adverse impact on trade as a result of this exercise.
5. Extension of customs duty exemption on goods imported for testing, and setting up of a customs dispute resolution forum, ease compliances under customs, and integration of the current ICEGATE, DGFT and SEZ online portal into a common digital platform.
What experts say:
Nangia Andersen India chairman Rakesh Nangia said that the top end of businesses as well as the upper middle class is doing sufficiently well, despite the indelible impact left by the Covid crisis. "India is witnessing real consumption problem as the less affluent segments have still not come out of their distressed situations. The budget's key focus must be to enable the ecosystem around job, income, and demand creation. There is also a need to address various challenges including the most important consideration viz. data protection faced by relatively newer sectors like telemedicine, tele lawyering and ed-tech."
Deloitte India Partner Gokul Chaudhri said the budget is expected to provide relief to lower and middle-income earners with disposable income impacted due to inflation. Also, India has agreed to do away with equalisation levy (EL) and follow the multilateral solution in the form of Pillar 1 and 2 agreed between 137 member countries working at the OECD Inclusive Framework.
"It is expected that the budget will introduce necessary legislative framework to facilitate implementation of these and also lay down a road map for stakeholder consultation," Mr Chaudhri added.
AMRG & Associates Senior Partner Rajat Mohan said while middle class expects higher disposal income to counter intensifying inflation, large corporates anticipate stability in tax structure, MSME desires availability of extra liquidity to fund business growth, and foreign investors expect a conducive business environment for long-term strategic investments from budget 2022-23.